Winners And Losers Of The Will Smith/Chris Rock Scuffle
Now that the sting from the Fresh Prince’s open-hand slap is starting to subside, let’s take a step back and assess the winners and losers of Sunday night’s all-time Oscar weirdness.
Loser: Will SmithDo we really need to explain this?
Winner: Chris Rock concert promotersNot that Rock needed help selling concert tickets, but Variety reported a surge in sales after Sunday night’s debacle. In fact, more tickets for the comedian’s tour were sold overnight than in the previous month combined. The secondary market also got a boost since Sunday night, with tickets going from a minimum of $46 per on March 18 to a minimum of $341. That slap is turning out to be pretty profitable.
Winner: Denzel WashingtonIs Denzel the Oscar Controversy Whisperer? He’s credited with calming down Smith after the slap, as well as giving him a word of warning: “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.”
Jimmy Kimmel also applauds Denzel for helping him through 2017’s mess when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the wrong winner. “(Denzel) was the one who was directing me from the audience because I was just up f***ing around,” Kimmel said on the Bill Simmons Podcast. “So maybe he’s the common denominator.”
Loser: The AcademyChaos reigned backstage, according to Puck’s Matthew Belloni. There was serious debate among Academy bigwigs about whether to remove Smith immediately, complicated by a) the fact that he was likely going to win one of the night’s biggest awards and b) the optics of removing perhaps the organization’s most prominent Black member. ABC weighed in, as did the show’s producer, and all of the uncertainty ended up in them doing … nothing. Now the Academy has to figure out if it’s going to hold Smith accountable after the fact -- a year-long (or longer) suspension is on the table.
Winner: The AcademyShow producers implemented all manner of dopey ideas to boost ratings on the show’s broadcast, including cutting a number of technical awards and creating an online #OscarsCheersMoment contest that allowed Snyderverse crazies to get a “Flash enters the Speedforce!” moment on the Oscars.
But it was Smith’s outburst that's probably going to do what no amount of show tinkering could -- get people to tune into next year's show to see what lunacy might happen next.
Loser: QuestloveDoes anyone remember that Rock was out there to present the Oscar for Best Documentary to Questlove’s amazing Summer of Soul? Does anyone remember a second of Questlove’s acceptance speech? It should have been his moment, but Smith smacked it away from him. Here’s your chance to watch it again:
Winner: The meme industryHey, folks over at Know Your Meme -- Chris Rock says “You’re welcome.”
’Winner’: O.J. SimpsonMake that O.J. and any D-level celebrity who feels like they should be weighing in on the Oscar scrap.
"Look, I understood the feeling,” says The Juice, presumably with ominous music building underneath. “In my life, I've been through a lot of crap. I was raising two young kids and every comedian in the country had O.J. routines and don't think I wouldn't want to B-slap a couple of those guys, but you’ve got to accept it’s human."
Note to comedians: Ditch the O.J. routines.
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Top image: A.M.P.A.S.